Crock Pot Ribs Recipe

Crock Pot Ribs Recipe: Effortless and Flavorful Cooking

Are you craving delicious, tender ribs but don’t have hours to spend at the grill? Your crock pot may be the perfect solution for achieving fall-off-the-bone ribs with minimal effort. Slow cooking ribs in a crock pot allows you to get perfectly cooked, flavorful ribs without having to monitor the temperature or constantly check for doneness.

A slow cooker ribs recipe typically involves seasoning the ribs with a dry rub, adding a barbecue sauce or other liquid, and letting the cooker do its magic. You’ll find that the cooking time can vary, but generally, it takes around 6 to 8 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high for the ribs to become tender. Once the ribs are cooked, you can finish them off by broiling or grilling them for a few minutes to create that appealing charred exterior.

There is no shortage of crock pot ribs recipes available, with various rubs, sauces, and cooking tips to suit your taste preferences. So grab your favorite ingredients and give it a try‚Äîyou’ll be amazed at how simple it can be to recreate restaurant-quality ribs right in your own kitchen.

What You’ll Need

To prepare a delicious and tender crock pot ribs recipe, here’s a list of ingredients and equipment you’ll need:


  • Pork baby back ribs (or beef short ribs, if preferred)
  • The dry rub mixture, including brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder
  • Barbecue sauce of your choice
  • Water


  • Slow cooker or Crockpot
  • A sharp knife and cutting board for preparing the ribs
  • Aluminum foil or cooking spray for coating the baking sheet
  • Baking sheet
  • Oven

Before you start cooking, make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and equipment on hand to ensure a smooth process. First, prepare the ribs by removing the silver membrane from the back of the pork ribs. This step is essential for achieving a tender and flavorful result.

Next, apply the dry rub mixture evenly to the ribs, covering both sides. This combination of spices will infuse the ribs with a sweet-savory flavor throughout the cooking process.

Now it’s time to place the ribs in your slow cooker. Add a small amount of water to the bottom of your Crockpot to ensure the ribs remain moist during the slow-cooking process. It’s important to select the right cook time depending on the size and type of ribs‚Äîpork baby back ribs typically require 8 hours on low heat, while beef short ribs may need a different cooking time.

Towards the end of the cooking time, preheat your oven and prepare your baking sheet by either lining it with aluminum foil or using cooking spray. This step is crucial for achieving the perfect caramelization on your crock pot ribs.

Once the ribs are done slow-cooking, carefully transfer them to the baking sheet. Apply a generous layer of barbecue sauce and place the ribs, uncovered, in the preheated oven for a short period. This step will give your crockpot ribs the perfect finishing touch, resulting in a tender yet crispy exterior that everyone will love.

Choosing Your Ribs

When selecting ribs for your crock pot recipe, there are several options to consider. Each type of rib offers a unique flavor and texture, so it’s important to choose the right cut for your taste preferences and cooking needs.

Baby back ribs are a popular choice for crock pot cooking. These pork ribs come from the upper part of the ribcage and are leaner and smaller than other rib cuts. Since they have less fat, they cook more quickly and can be more tender when prepared in the crock pot. Baby back ribs are typically sold in slabs that have 10 to 13 ribs and require less cooking time compared to other cuts.

Spare ribs are another type of pork rib that can be used in crock pot recipes. These ribs originate from the lower part of the ribcage, making them larger and meatier than baby back ribs. Spare ribs can be sold as whole slabs or trimmed into the well-known St. Louis style ribs, which have the rib tips and brisket bones removed. Although spare ribs tend to have more fat than baby back ribs, the crock pot cooking method helps to render the fat and keep the meat juicy and flavorful.

If you prefer beef ribs, you may want to consider beef short ribs for your recipe. These ribs are meatier and cut from the rib section of the cow, found above the brisket. They have a rich taste and increased marbling, resulting in a tender and juicy end product when cooked slowly in the crock pot.

To summarize, here are the popular rib options for crock pot cooking:

  • Pork Ribs:

    • Baby back ribs – leaner, smaller, quicker cooking time
    • Spare ribs – larger, meatier, more fat
    • St. Louis style ribs – trimmed version of spare ribs
  • Beef Ribs:

    • Beef short ribs – meatier, rich flavor, increased marbling

Once you’ve chosen your preferred type of rib, it’s important to look for quality cuts when shopping. Ribs should have good marbling, with a smaller amount of connective tissue. Keep in mind that while cooking in a crock pot will tenderize the meat, starting with a good cut ensures the best possible outcome for your dish.

Preparing the Ribs

Before you start cooking your crock pot ribs, it’s important to prepare them properly to ensure a tender, flavorful result. First, you should remove the silver membrane from the back of the ribs. To do this, slide a butter knife under the membrane and gently lift it away from the meat. Once you have a grip on it, pull the membrane off the ribs. This step is crucial for ensuring that your finished ribs are tender and easy to eat.

Next, pat your ribs dry with a paper towel. This will help the rub mix adhere evenly, providing a consistent seasoning across the ribs. A good rub mix typically includes brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Feel free to adjust proportions to your taste. Once your rub is ready, apply it generously onto both sides of the ribs, pressing it into the meat. Don’t be afraid to use your hands for this step, as it will ensure a thorough coating.

Here is a sample rub mix recipe you could use:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cut the ribs in half to fit them into your slow cooker easily. Layering your ribs in the crock pot is essential for even cooking. Place half of your rib rack on the bottom of the slow cooker, add in any additional ingredients (such as onions or garlic), and then place the other half of the rib rack on top.

With your ribs prepared and nestled into the crock pot, you’re now ready to proceed with your desired cooking method and sauce. Follow your specific recipe for the remainder of the process, but rest assured that you’ve set yourself up for success with these essential steps in preparing your ribs.

Crafting the Perfect Rub

A key component to any delicious crock pot ribs recipe is the dry rub applied to the ribs before slow cooking. The perfect rub combines a mix of flavors that complement the barbecue sauce and slow cooking process. Here, we’ll guide you through crafting your own rub mix using various spices and seasonings.

Begin by putting together a base of salt and black pepper, which will help enhance the natural flavors of the pork. From there, consider adding garlic powder and onion powder for that savory taste. These two ingredients pair well with most meats, and ribs are no exception.

To balance the flavors, it’s essential to add some sweetness. You can achieve this by incorporating brown sugar into your rub mix. Brown sugar not only adds a sweet note to the rub, but also helps create a caramelized crust on the ribs when cooked.

For a smoky and vibrant flavor, add paprika to the rub. This rich and slightly sweet spice plays well with the brown sugar and other savory components. If you’d like to intensify the heat in your rub, consider throwing in some chili powder as well, which will give your ribs a fiery kick.

Here’s a simple rub mix recipe to get you started:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, mixing well to ensure there are no clumps of spices. Once you’ve got your rub mix, it’s time to apply it to your ribs. Generously coat both sides of the rib rack with the dry rub, making sure to firmly press the mixture onto the surface. All that’s left now is to patiently wait as your crock pot ribs cook to tender, fall-off-the-bone perfection!

Sauce Selection

When it comes to preparing delicious crockpot ribs, the sauce plays a significant role in the final flavor. You have the option of using either a homemade BBQ sauce or a store-bought variety. Let’s explore some essential ingredients and recommendations to help you decide on the perfect sauce for your ribs.

Firstly, a classic BBQ sauce typically consists of a base ingredient such as ketchup or tomato sauce, combined with sweeteners like brown sugar or honey, and vinegar, usually apple cider vinegar, for tanginess. You can also add seasonings like garlic and onion powder, along with spices or hot sauce to achieve the desired heat level.

If you prefer a homemade BBQ sauce, you can customize the flavor by experimenting with different ingredients. For a twist on the traditional sauce, try incorporating fruit preserves like raspberry or peach for a unique fruity touch. Another idea is to add liquid smoke or smoked paprika for an extra smoky flavor.

When preparing a homemade sauce, consider the following key ingredients and their proportions:

  • Base: ketchup or tomato sauce (about 1 cup)
  • Sweetener: brown sugar or honey (1/4 to 1/2 cup)
  • Vinegar: apple cider vinegar (1/4 cup)
  • Spices and seasonings: garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, hot sauce (to taste)

Here’s a simple homemade BBQ sauce recipe you can try:

  1. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of ketchup, 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of hot sauce (optional), and 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika.
  2. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally to combine ingredients.
  3. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

If you opt for a store-bought sauce, there are numerous brands and flavors to choose from. Select a high-quality BBQ sauce that suits your taste preferences, ranging from sweet to tangy or smoky. Be sure to look at the ingredient list and avoid sauces with an excessive amount of sugar or artificial additives.

Ultimately, the sauce you choose for your crockpot ribs will greatly impact the dish’s final outcome, so it’s essential to pick one that complements the ribs and aligns with your taste buds.

Cooking Process

When cooking slow cooker ribs, you want to achieve that fall-off-the-bone tenderness that makes this dish so popular. This section will provide you with a clear and concise guide on how to prepare your ribs using a crock pot for a confident and delicious result.

Firstly, prepare your crock pot ribs by using a dry rub mixture to cover both sides of the ribs. Combine ingredients such as brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Once your ribs are seasoned, you’ll need to cut them into smaller portions if necessary to fit comfortably within your slow cooker.

Now, it’s time to layer the ribs and sauce in your slow cooker. Place the seasoned ribs in the slow cooker, arranging them to occupy the space evenly. Pour your preferred barbecue sauce over the ribs, making sure to cover all surfaces. If you want, you may layer more ribs on top and cover them with more sauce.

Cooking times will vary depending on your slow cooker model, but generally, cook the ribs on low for 8-10 hours, or until they are fall-off-the-bone tender. If using an instant pot, consult your appliance’s manual for proper cooking times and settings.

While the ribs are cooking in the slow cooker, you may want to prepare some side dishes in the oven or grill, like cornbread, potato salad, or grilled vegetables to complement your meal.

After your ribs are cooked to perfection, you can either serve them as is, or caramelize the surface for extra flavor. To caramelize the ribs, simply transfer them to an ovenproof dish and broil them in a preheated oven for a few minutes until the sauce starts to bubble. Alternatively, you can place the ribs on a heated grill for a few minutes to achieve a similar result.

Follow these steps, and you will have a delicious and satisfying slow cooker ribs recipe that will wow your family and friends with its tenderness and flavor.

Serving and Storing Leftovers

When you have successfully cooked your crock pot ribs, it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Serve the ribs alongside your favorite side dishes like corn on the cob, coleslaw, or a fresh garden salad to create a satisfying meal. If you happen to have leftovers, here are some useful tips to store and reheat them, ensuring they taste just as delicious as the first time!

Storing Leftover Ribs: It’s essential to store your leftover ribs properly to maintain their quality. Allow the ribs to cool down to room temperature before wrapping them tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. You can store them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag as well. Refrigerate the ribs within two hours of cooking them to prevent bacterial growth. Properly stored, leftover ribs will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Freezing Leftover Ribs: If you don’t plan on consuming the ribs within a few days, you can extend their shelf life by freezing them. First, wrap the ribs with plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil to create an airtight seal. Label your package with the date and product description, then store it in the freezer. Frozen ribs can last up to three months, but remember to thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before reheating for the best results.

Reheating Leftover Ribs: To reheat ribs, preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C). Remove the ribs from their storage wrapping and place them on a baking sheet. Cover the ribs with a layer of foil to retain moisture and prevent them from drying out. Reheat the ribs for 30-40 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). This way, you can enjoy the tender and juicy ribs once more!

When it comes to leftover corn on the cob, store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. You can reheat it in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes, ensuring that it’s heated through evenly. Don’t forget to add a touch of butter and a sprinkle of salt to enhance the flavor of your reheated corn on the cob.

With these tips, you can now confidently store and reheat your leftover crock pot ribs and corn on the cob, ensuring every bite is as mouthwatering as the first.

Nutritional Benefits

Crock Pot Ribs are not only a delicious and easy meal to prepare, but they also offer various nutritional benefits. When cooked with a balanced combination of spices and sauces, this protein-packed dish can be a healthy addition to your diet.

In a typical serving of Crock Pot Ribs, you can expect to find significant amounts of protein. Protein is essential for maintaining and repairing tissues, as well as building strong muscles. This dish also contains small quantities of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, which play crucial roles in supporting a healthy immune system, skin, and vision.

Below is a table summarizing selected nutritional values in a serving of Crock Pot Ribs:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 210 kcal
Protein 22 g
Vitamin A 2% DV
Vitamin C 1% DV
Calcium 2% DV
Iron 9% DV

*DV = Daily Value

Please note that these values are approximate and can vary depending on the specific ingredients used in your recipe.

While Crock Pot Ribs can be a nutritious choice, remember to keep an eye on the calories and fat content. Opt for leaner cuts of meat to lower the calorie count, and consider incorporating a sugar-free or low-sugar barbecue sauce to maintain a well-balanced, wholesome meal. Additionally, serve your ribs with a side of steamed or roasted vegetables for added vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Lastly, Crock Pot Ribs are a good source of calcium and iron. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth, while iron facilitates oxygen transportation throughout the body and helps reduce fatigue.

By considering these nutritional benefits, you can confidently enjoy Crock Pot Ribs as part of a balanced and satisfying diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I cook baby back ribs in a crock pot?

To achieve tender and flavorful baby back ribs in a crock pot, cook them on low for 7-8 hours. If you’re short on time, you can cook the ribs on high for 3-4 hours, but this may result in slightly less tender meat.

What is the best liquid to use when slow cooking ribs?

A small amount of water (about half a cup) is enough for maintaining moisture in the crock pot while cooking ribs. You can also use liquids such as apple cider, beer, or a small amount of your desired sauce to add more flavor.

Are country style ribs suitable for crock pot cooking?

Yes, country style ribs work very well in crock pot cooking. They are cut from the shoulder of the pig and have enough fat content to remain tender and moist as they slow-cook.

How do I prevent ribs from drying out in a slow cooker?

To prevent ribs from drying out in a slow cooker, make sure to add enough liquid (water or other flavorful liquids) to create moisture. Also, be cautious not to overcook the ribs, as that can also lead to dryness. Cooking them on low helps maintain tenderness and moisture.

What are the differences between oven and crock pot rib recipes?

The main difference between oven and crock pot rib recipes is the cooking method and time. Oven-cooked ribs usually require a higher temperature and shorter cooking time, while crock pot ribs are cooked slowly at a lower temperature to achieve tenderness and allow flavors to meld. In addition, crock pot recipes typically require less hands-on time, making them ideal for busy schedules.

Can I cook boneless pork ribs in a crock pot, and if so, how?

Yes, you can cook boneless pork ribs in a crock pot. They should be cooked on low for 6-7 hours or until they reach the desired tenderness. Be sure to add enough liquid (water or other flavorful options) to maintain moisture while cooking, and consider adding your favorite seasonings, rubs, or sauces for added flavor.

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